February 12, 2024

Umatilla High School Girls Basketball Continues Historic Season

2.2 min read| Published On: February 12th, 2024|

By Kyle Coppola

Umatilla High School Girls Basketball Continues Historic Season

2.2 min read| Published On: February 12th, 2024|

The Umatilla High School girls basketball season is not over yet. Although the Umatilla Lady Bulldogs finished in third place in the Class 4A District 6 tournament behind The Villages and Dunnellon, they have been rewarded with the #7 seed in the FHSAA State Tournament and will take on the #2 seed Palm Bay from Melbourne in the first round.

(Coach Cameron Ware has been one of the best coaches in Lake County the past two years. The Lady Bulldogs are now headed to the FHSAA Playoffs once more.)

The Umatilla Lady Bulldogs nearly pulled off a big upset against The Villages in the semi-finals of the district tournament. Herva Brutus and Emelee Duncan played fantastic down the stretch of that game. Both teams had high enough rankings that they would make the playoffs, but the question was who would take the higher and lower seeds in the tournament.

For The Villages, they did not have as good of a record as Umatilla and Dunnellon, so they wound up with the #8 seed in the playoffs and will take on Lake Highland Prep. Eustis found themselves as the fourth-place team in the district, and unfortunately, their season came to an end.

(Sophomore Herva Brutus leads the Umatilla Lady Bulldogs with 14.6 points per game. She has been one of the most dominant players in all of Class 4A this season.)

But for Umatilla, this is uncharted territory for this group of ladies. They finished the season with 19 wins and 6 losses, the best season in Lady Bulldogs history by a large margin. This will be the second year in a row that the Lady Bulldogs finish with a winning record. That is something that has never happened in the history of the program.

Coach Cameron Ware has been a blessing for this girls’ program since taking the head coaching job two years ago. Since then, the Lady Bulldogs are 32-13. Those are numbers that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago when these teams had a 10-year average of just 4 wins per season.

(From left to right Emalee Duncan, Trinity Brennan and Herva Brutus get a lesson from coach Cameron Ware.)

Now Umatilla has the chance to really turn some heads. Can they win in the regional quarterfinals? Palm Bay presents many challenges. At 20-7, the Pirates are one of the top teams in Class 4A. The Pirates have three players averaging 10 points or more per game. Jaida Civil leads the team with 15 points per game.

For Umatilla, the odds are stacked against them in this matchup. They showed great poise against The Villages just a week ago, so anything is possible. Herva Brutus is averaging 14.6 points per game. Lauren Archer and Emalee Duncan are both averaging about 8 points per game. Trinity Brennan is also playing her best basketball of the season at the right time.

If Umatilla can contain the offensive threats for Palm Bay, they have a chance to extend their season. Offensively, the Lady Bulldogs will need to have one of their best games of the season. An upset is certainly possible, but regardless of the outcome, it’s been a history-breaking season for Umatilla High School.

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About the Author: Kyle Coppola

Kyle Coppola was born in Newton, Massachusetts and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communications from Curry College in 2016. After traveling to Florida on a family vacation, he decided he could not get enough of the warm weather and made the move from snowy Massachusetts to central Florida 8 years ago.

For the last decade Kyle has gained valuable experience in social media content creation, marketing and sales, writing, video production, sports announcing and even broadcasting for local radio stations, such as FM 102.9 in The Villages and FM 91.5 in Massachusetts. Every year he volunteers at The Villages Charter High School as a play-by-play sports announcer for the football games as well as a public address announcer for the basketball games, including the annual Battle at The Villages Tournament.

Outside the office Kyle is a husband and father to two beautiful girls along with their cat. In his spare time he likes to spend time with his family, travel, play golf and swim. He is also a huge sports junkie and even bigger motorsports fan and loves to attend racing events when he can.

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